Ted Bundy had two diametrically opposing sides to his personality: that of a cold-blooded killer who stalked, bludgeoned, and murdered dozens of unsuspecting women and that of a happy family man who spent his weekends heading to the park or zoo.
For years after he began dating his long-time love Elizabeth Kloepfer in 1969, he helped raise her daughter, who has been known publicly by multiple pseudonyms, including “Tina” in Kloepfer’s 1981 book, “The Phantom Prince: My Life With Ted Bundy,” and “Molly” in the latest Bundy biopic, “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile,” directed by Joe Berlinger.
But while the public continues to be fascinated by Bundy — Molly’s one-time father figure — little is known about Molly’s life today or how her time with the killer shaped who she is now.
What we do know is Molly is said to be living in Washington and is “in a good place,” according to comments Berlinger made to Vanity Fair after meeting with her and her mother for the film.
Ted Bundy As A Father Figure
Molly was just a toddler when Kloepfer met Bundy in 1969. Kloeper had recently moved to Seattle after divorcing Molly’s father, who was a convicted felon — something Kloeper didn’t find out until she was already married.
“I was amazed and pleased at how much Ted liked our domestic scene,” Kloeper wrote in the book. “He seemed hungry for family life.”
The trio strolled down the main street in the University District, ate Chinese food in the International District, fed the ducks at a local park, and headed to the area’s nearby lakes. On Saturday mornings, Bundy would watch cartoons and make breakfast with Molly while Kloepfer slept in.
“Talking and eating and taking care of (Molly) and sleeping together all flowed along so effortlessly that we had become a family,” Kloepfer wrote in the book, under the pen name Elizabeth Kendall (also the name of her character in "Extremely Wicked").
Bundy himself also recalled the time fondly in tapes played in the Netflix docu-series “Conversations With a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes" (also directed by Berlinger), telling journalists Stephen Michaud and Hugh Aynesworth it was a “whole new dimension to living that I had never seen before.”
The ease with which Bundy appeared to embrace domestic life was apparent to others as well.
Berlinger told The Deseret News that while he was preparing for “Extremely Wicked” he visited Kloepfer and was given access to her personal photo albums from that time.
“There was this nice family unit of three going sailing, going camping, going hiking, having birthday parties, but that male figure was Ted Bundy,” he said, adding that the photos were reminiscent of his own family snapshots.
Kloepfer’s family also liked Bundy, with her mother’s only criticism being that she thought he could be too hard on Molly.
The trio spent less time together after Bundy moved to Utah to attend law school; however, Bundy continued to a be a regular fixture in their lives as they spent holidays together and frequently visited.
On one occasion, Molly helped Bundy surprise Kloepfer with a visit by hiding him in her bedroom so that he could pop out and surprise Kloepfer when she came home from work.
“He and (Molly) were pleased with themselves and their surprise,” she wrote.
But soon the illusion of Bundy being a normal family man began to unravel, as police started to suspect Bundy may be responsible for a series of heinous murders of college co-eds in Washington, Oregon, and Colorado.
After Bundy headed to jail for his crimes, Kloepfer and Molly were left to reassemble their lives.
“The fury of whatever plagued Ted has destroyed a beautiful man and taken many, many lives with it,” Kloeper wrote. “I say ‘whatever’ because I am uncomfortable discussing the evil power that I know exists. I don’t like to talk about it, partly because I don’t want to sound like a fanatic, but mostly because it has come too close to mangling my life.”
Avoiding The Spotlight
Kloepfer shared her story in her memoir published in 1981, but then she and her daughter slipped away from the public’s view. Little is known about the years they spent after Bundy was convicted.
Both did agree to participate in Berlinger’s re-telling of the story and met with Berlinger and Lily Collins, who portrays Kloepfer in the film.
“She was so gracious. Her and her daughter, Molly, were so gracious in inviting me in and giving me material to look at and speaking to me and just allowing me to ask questions,” Collins told the hosts of “This Morning” on ITV in an interview promoting the movie.
Berlinger told Vanity Fair that both Kloepfer and her daughter also visited the set of the movie, but asked to come during a day when the cast was shooting a happy scene. They came on the day Zac Efron, who plays Bundy, and Collins filmed the scene where the couple met at a Seattle-area bar.
“It was very touching to see her, Zac, Lily and Molly interacting,” he told the magazine.
Berlinger said both women still have “a hard time processing” everything that happened in the years since they met the charismatic killer.
“It took a lot of trust for them to meet with us,” he said. “They still haven’t seen the film, and don’t want to see the film, and don’t want to do press for the film. Elizabeth still has a hard time with it.”
While Berlinger said the trauma is still difficult for the women, he believes Kloepfer is pleased the story was re-told through her perspective in the latest film to chronicle the killer’s deadly deeds.
“It’s still a painful experience. But I think, generally speaking, they’ve moved on with their lives and are both in a good place,” he said.
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